Classes canceled this week at Michigan State University after shootings

President hopes to ‘offer time for healing to begin’

A student kneels where flowers are being left at the Spartan Statue on the grounds of Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. A gunman killed several people and wounded others at Michigan State University. Police said early Tuesday that the shooter eventually killed himself. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – All classes have been canceled through the week at Michigan State University after several students were killed or injured in Monday night’s tragic mass shooting.

Interim university President Teresa Woodruff announced Tuesday that classes are canceled for all MSU students through Sunday, Feb. 19, to “offer time for healing to begin.” In a video posted Tuesday, Woodruff said the healing process “will not be swift” after a shooter killed three students on campus on Monday.

“Grief is a profoundly personal thing, and we know the healing process will not be swift,” Woodruff said. “We must take time to think, mourn and be together. I encourage everyone to honor their feelings and find comfort and solace in the close bonds that knit together our Spartan family.”

Officials previously said all classes and campus-related activities would be canceled for at least 48 hours following two shootings Monday night. It is believed the campus will resume normal operations on Wednesday, apart from holding classes.

On Feb. 13, a 43-year-old gunman with no known ties to the university opened fire on students at Berkey Hall and the MSU Union -- buildings on the northern edge of the East Lansing campus. Three students were killed in the shooting: Brian Fraser, of Grosse Pointe; junior Alexandria Verner, of Clawson; and Arielle Anderson, a graduate of Grosse Pointe North High School.

Five other students were injured and hospitalized, and remained in critical condition as of Tuesday.

According to MSU police, two of the students were killed when the gunman fired shots at Berkey Hall. A third person was killed in the shooting at the Union just moments later.

After about three hours, police located the shooter -- identified as Anthony McRae -- at an off-campus location in Lansing. The shooter killed himself at that scene, officials said.

An unknown number of on-campus students were picked up by parents and loved ones after the shootings came to an end. Vigils continue to be held in East Lansing and beyond in honor of those killed and critically injured Monday.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the rock on MSU’s campus.

Woodruff’s entire statement from Tuesday can be read below.

“Dear Spartans and friends, today we are in the numbing wake of last night’s shootings on our East Lansing campus. It is hard to utter, let alone process, words about the loss and critical injury of our students. My heart hangs heavy. But I come to you to speak of our experiences as we struggle together with our next steps as a community.

“The board and I extend our hearts, first and foremost, to the families and loved ones of those we lost. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, ‘There is no grief, like the grief that does not speak.’ We pause in this moment to turn our thoughts to those struggling to recover from their wounds, and offer thanks to Sparrow doctors and nurses who, at this hour, are working to comfort and to heal.

“I also join the gratitude of many for the hundreds of law enforcement and first responders, who answered our call, tended to the injured, kept the community informed, and brought the incident to an end.

“Gratitude as well to our community, who heeded the calls to stay in place, and for the caller who helped bring this horrific incident to an end. I am grateful for the words of condolence and solidarity from our local community and people across the state. Government leaders, including Governor Whitmer and President Biden, and colleagues in colleges and universities in Michigan, the Big 10, and beyond.

“I am heartened by the comfort sent around our Spartan nation in texts and emails, and social media, and impromptu vigils on other campuses, in the flowers laid at the base of our iconic Spartan statue. And in the words painted this morning on our campus rock, ‘How many more?’

“Grief is a profoundly personal thing, and we know the healing process will not be swift. We must take time to think, mourn and be together. I encourage everyone to honor their feelings and find comfort and solace in the close bonds that knit together our Spartan family. To offer time for healing to begin, MSU has cancelled classes for the rest of the week.

“Counseling services are being provided to students, faculty, and staff through MSU programs and also through regional and community providers. A candlelight vigil will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the rock. In this most difficult time, I hold our grief and our strength in my head and my heart. And I claim our campus for our MSU community so that when from these scenes we wander, and twilight shadows fade, our memories still will linger where light and shadow played.”

MSU Interim President Teresa Woodruff

MSU campus shooting: Find all of our online coverage here

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.